A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dave's Deep Thoughts

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

A rose for Valentines Day

It's a tradition of mine,
given to a mom who has been widowed for several years.

Just a simple way to let her know
that she is loved and cherished.

When I walk into her home,
I expect to see the rose on display
in a highly visible location.

I should know better.

the rose can be found on a table
in a closed off room.

A room closed off
from the rest of the house
in an effort to conserve heat........

a room that she rarely enters.

Mom, why don't you bring the rose
out into the living space
so that you can enjoy it?

I am not sure why I still ask questions
to which I already know the answers.

But I do.

Oh, it will last longer if it stays in the cool.

While I have long understood botanically,
the rose's aversion
to warm temperatures,
I have greater difficulty
understanding the purpose
of a beautiful rose not seen.

But that is my mom.

She is a packer.

No, not the football type.
The storing, put away type of packer

Even in this season of life,
where Alzheimers is her constant companion,
somethings do not change.

She was, and still is a packer.

She puts things away.
She doesn't live for the moment,
but prepares for the future.

Roses are placed in seclusion for longevity.
New dresses are placed in the closet for a minimum of six months before the first wearing.
Restaurant gift certificates are placed on the shelf for a later season.

Perhaps it is something from her childhood,
growing up in rather austere conditions on a farm.....

but she believes in putting away,
saving up for a rainy day.

She would spend her summers
canning and freezing every type of vegetable and fruit imaginable,
so that there would be food on the table during the snows of winter.

She would save every penny possible from paychecks,
so that college tuition for four children would be available in its time.

She would store old devotionals
so that they could be re-read in the quiet of later years.

She is a packer.

And so when she receives a rose on Valentines,
she doesn't need to see it to know that she is loved and cherished.
Knowing that it resides in the other room is enough for her.

My mom is a packer.
But she is also a woman of great faith.
She knows that what is visible is not the final answer.
She knows that what is unseen
is even more important than what is seen.

Things like, faith, hope, and love
which are measured in eternity.

When the day comes that she sees what is unseen,
I doubt that she will be very much surprised,
for she has known that it was there all the time.

That is how it is with those who are packers.

Don't hoard treasure down here
where it gets eaten by moth
and corroded by rust -worse! - stolen by burglars.
Stockpile treasure in heaven where it is safe
from moth and rust and burglars.
It's obvious isn't it?
The place where your treasure is,
is the place you will most want to be,
and end up being.
Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message translation)

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